In Austria, Jesus plays football (and spoiler for Italy/England match in comments)

June 14, 2014 • 3:23 pm

In honor of the world’s usage, for the next month I’ll use “football” as the term for the sport being played at the World Cup.  And, as reader Steve tells us, football is apparently played by the Saviour, at least in Austria:

I’m not fond of online gambling firms, but one of them in Austria has taken advantage of this World Cup’s location to launch a tongue-in-cheek advertising campaign. This was spotted by a neighbour, also an atheist, who says that he doesn’t like it. Personally, I find it amusing.

Any atheist who doesn’t find the ad funny is a sourpuss—or an accommodationist. But it’s only a matter of time before the Catholic League complains about this as well.

Here’s Rio’s Christ the Redeemer about to score a GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL!!!!!And for who don’t know German, the phrase under the firm’s name means “Life is a game!”


It surprises me that this ad appears in a pretty religious country. But, in Europe, footie trumps all.

Now, off to watch England v. Italy. Who should I root for?

I’m watching but won’t spoil anything. . .

47 thoughts on “In Austria, Jesus plays football (and spoiler for Italy/England match in comments)

    1. The Beagle first 11.
      (Or possibly the Cambridge Dons, with their towels over their faces.)

  1. One thing I do kind of like about the German language is that they use the familiar “du” form when addressing friends, children, animals and God. There is also quite a tradition of making fun of religious icons. The opening scene of Faust would probably shock and offend many US Christians. (God and the devil appear and…

    Yay, something bad happened to the team I’m not going for! (No spoiler)

      1. Forgive me the negativity… It’s just my Australian anti-colonial bigotry talking. I’m not exactly for Italy, and in fact I’m not especially for Australia either. I am a genuine fan of Germany — not just because it’s my home now, but because I really love their style of play.

        1. When I followed the World Cup I used to root for Germany as well. They were skilled and didn’t roll on the ground to get the other team carded unnecessarily. I also liked their concept of “fair geht vor”

          1. They realized about 12 years ago that they needed to find some young players, so the Football Association built thousands of soccer areas (enclosure with a high fence) in playgrounds and parks everywhere, just to get more young people playing the sport. Other countries are just trying to identify potential stars and ignoring other kids in general. There are people running the game who have a genuine love of the sport and want to keep it going for its own sake.

            And of course, it’s paying off too — some great young players showing up in the national team.

  2. I love the billboard. There would be such an outcry in Canada if that billboard went up.

    I find it odd that you get to use “du” with god. I mean, he is the big boss. 🙂

    1. Well it corresponds to “Thou” so it’s hardly so surprising. Not sure why – could it be because du/Thou is unequivocally singular, and it’s a hedge against the possibly polytheistic Sie/You/Ye?

  3. The intimate pronoun is used with God pretty much all over Europe. It was used in English, too – “thou” is not the formal, though it sounds like it now.

  4. I’m just waiting for the Viagra ad featuring Jesus.

    Hey, after two thousand years, the blood flow to the pecker can become a little restricted, no matter whose ‘son’ you are.

    1. More evidence that everything is about penises. As my friend says, “the lenin’s is the most influential body part in history”. Naively, I thought it was the hand as in prehistory it was important for humans and in Latin “manus” means hand and power and sculpture with men and their family shows men in a pose showing their hand. To show “manus” with the “manus”.

  5. My cat expects the second-person familiar, not because she’s our child. Or our friend. And certainly not an animal. She’s confident that she’s the deity in this household.

    1. It’s a .com site, meaning it’s based in or aimed at the USA, inter alia. Also, ‘lottery’ probably isn’t le mot juste.

  6. I am struck by the number of empty seats at the games. Fewer tourists and seats too expensive for locals? Or seats reserved for bigwigs who do not show? Same was true in 2010 in South Africa.

    The best attended World Cup is still the 1994 one held in the US – even though there were fewer games. 24 teams back then and 52 matches instead of 64. Total attendance at the games was 3.6 million – average of 69,000. Highest attendance since the tournament was enlarged to 32 in 1998 was in Germany in 2006 – 3.2MM, avg 50,000.

    In the US, we have larger stadiums and sold every ticket. If it comes to the US again, attendance might surpass 5MM. The smallest venue in the US that would be considered would be Soldier Field in Chicago (64,000). All the rest would be in the 70-100,000 range. Only two of the 12 Brazilian stadiums are bigger than Soldier Field. Half are around 40,000.

    1. Manaus in particular is in a very remote location. And a stadium this size is far larger than that community needs after the four world cup games are done. The fact that many empty seats are evident even for the World Cup games is the icing on the cake of wastefulness.

      1. I feel somewhat guilty enjoying the World Cup since it is from one of the most corrupt organizations ever, FIFA. Much like the Olympics and the IOC.

        1. The UCI (international cycling) were pretty bad too, in their own way, but don’t have the reach of the others!

  7. But Jesus doesn’t seem to be playing his normal position. He is a goalkeeper! Remember: “Jesus saves!”.

    1. Yeh, he looks a bit more like he’s just about to try and save a penalty.

      And I guess this means he had 10 disciples and three on the reserve bench.

    2. With, allegedly, 12 disciples I guess Jesus had 13 players on his team. Suggests to me he was a rugby league player!

  8. God indeed pops up in many places. I attended a general trivia night the other month with some friends and there was a prayer at the start to request the right answers.

    It was held at a mission church, as my trivia friends work for the organisation, but only the pop quiz questions were about religion.

    Whilst people bowed their heads and prayed I, the atheist, looked around the room to see if any others were not partaking in the prayer. And there were a few people.

    Such a frivolous and self serving prayer seemed inappropriate. But I guess those who believe will pray for anything and everything.

    It was an eye opener.

  9. Best showing by England that I’ve seen for many years, I must say. They look like a team suddenly, and less like a bunch of wannabe stars preening themselves and wondering why all those good players they usually play beside in the Premier League at home are suddenly wearing different colors and running rings around them.

    I think having finally found a decent trainer makes a huge difference too.

    1. At least they attacked positively this time. At the last World Cup they seemed to have a positive aversion to crossing the half-way line.

  10. Here’s a digitally altered statue of Rio de Janeiros’ Jesus statue wearing a football jersey which actually does have the Brazilian Catholic church in an uproar.

    In general, I don’t find this surprising at all. American culture has many links between (American) football one example being this pic of a football holder with a Biblical verse
    to my least favorite religious song of all time “Drop Kick Me Jesus, through the Goalposts of Life”.

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